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Spring Cleaning That Will Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency (Part 2 of 2)April 15th, 2015 by
Most people view spring cleaning as a primarily indoor activity, but after the inconstant weather conditions that autumn and winter subject your house to, there’s quite a bit of work to be done outside as well. The list of spring home maintenance tips below will help you maximize your house’s energy efficiency while cleaning up your outdoor space.
It’s a good idea to have a roofing professional inspect your roof for any damage caused by heavy snowfall or other harsh, cold-weather events. Missing or damaged shingles and problems with the flashing—especially where the roof meets fixtures such as chimneys, skylights, and vents—can allow the summer heat into your home, making your air conditioner work harder to keep it cool. Also, if you’re planning a re-roofing project, consider opting for roofing materials in a light color; darker colors absorb more of the sun’s rays and make it more difficult to keep inside temperatures down.
Falling leaves and debris clog your gutters and make it more difficult for water to flow through them. In addition to being less than useful for directing rainwater away from your house’s foundation, clogged gutters can become so heavy that they break. Gutters are also susceptible to ice damage during the winter months. If you don’t want to fiddle with the gutters yourself, call a gutter cleaning contractor, and if you don’t already have them, consider hiring someone to install gutter covers or screens to help keep your gutters clear.
Windows and Doors
The last thing you want in the summertime is that scorching summer heat entering your home and your cool air getting out. Your windows and doors are the primary culprits, so check the caulking around them—both inside and out—and recaulk as necessary. If the windows stick when you try to open and close them, or if they won’t close securely, replace the weather stripping.
Don’t forget to clean the tracks of your windows and any sliding glass doors in your house, as even the littlest bit of dirt can prevent them from sealing properly and allow the indoor and outdoor air to mix—not to mention let allergy-inducing pollen in. Also, replace any torn screens; if there are only small holes in them, paint over the holes with clear nail polish.
Garages and unfinished basements are known for being humid and drafty, but that means they’re not doing a very good job keeping the outside air and moisture out. If any areas lack insulation, consider insulating them, or at least try to seal off any air leaks. If you’re having trouble finding them, look for spiderwebs—spiders prefer to build their webs in drafty locations.
Trees, flowers, and other plants can do more than make your yard look nice—if they’re close enough to your house, the shade they provide will keep the air around your home up to nine degrees cooler than shadeless areas. The cooler the temperature directly outside your home, the less energy your air conditioning system requires to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. A professional landscaper can help you landscape for energy efficiency by helping you select shade trees that are safe to plant close to your home and any nearby power lines.
While some of the tasks in the above spring home maintenance checklist may not be part of a typical spring cleaning plan, they are just as important to the appearance and energy efficiency of your home. A more energy-efficient home will allow your family to spend more time enjoying everything the warm weather has to offer without worrying about keeping cool.
Sources: EPA; HGTV; Ruralite Magazine; South Dakota Energy Smart.